August 30, 2018 / 6:23 PM / 24 days ago

NCAA clears Michigan State in Nassar scandal: university

(Reuters) - A National Collegiate Athletic Association review found that Michigan State University did not violate the organization’s rules in dealing with former school physician Larry Nassar, who was convicted of molesting hundreds of female gymnasts, the university said on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: A sign for Michigan State University is seen near the campus in East Lansing, Michigan, U.S., February 1, 2018. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook /File Photo

“We welcome closure in regards to the NCAA inquiry,” Michigan State Athletic Director Bill Beekman said in a statement online.

The NCAA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Last year Nassar, formerly a doctor for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State, was given an effective life sentence by a Michigan court for sexually abusing young female gymnasts entrusted to his care. He is also serving a 60-year sentence for a federal child pornography conviction.

At his sentencing hearing, more than 150 victims gave harrowing accounts of abuse at his hands.

In January, the NCAA contacted Michigan State, requesting its response to the sexual assaults and inquiring whether any NCAA rule violations occurred, the university said. In March, the university responded that violations did not occur.

The NCAA conducted an additional review following an ESPN report on Michigan State’s handling of allegations of student conduct involving the university’s football and men’s basketball programs. This review “‘has not substantiated violations of NCAA legislation,’” the university said, quoting a letter from the NCAA.

As to Nassar’s crimes committed at Michigan State, Beekman said, “The NCAA findings do not change a thing.”

“While we agree with the NCAA that we did not commit a violation, that does not diminish our commitment to ensure the health, safety and wellness of our student athletes,” he said.

Michigan State cooperated with the inquiry in the past several months, providing requested documentation and access to key personnel, Beekman said.

The Nassar scandal prompted the board of directors at USA Gymnastics to resign, along with top officials at Michigan State, including its president. In May the university agreed to pay $425 million to 332 of Nassar’s victims with another $75 million seat aside for future plaintiffs.

Reporting by Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago; Editing by Bill Trott

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